Interdoc: The first international non–governmental computer network

  • Brian Murphy


This paper tells in detail a little known story from the annals of computer networking history. In the early 1980s a small group of international non–governmental aid giving organizations developed their own network using available technologies to empower groups that worked for social and economic justice. Interdoc had member institutions from four continents, formalized its mandate with an international accord called the Valletri Agreement, operated in a three–circle structure, and aimed to manage the system from a social justice perspective. The network was used to inform and empower worker organizations, link grassroots activists, facilitate community–based research and education, bridge international political fault lines, collect and circulate human rights data, and disseminate information on sustainable development. Interdoc and its members were a precursor to, and helped facilitate the founding of the Association for Progressive Communications which grew to be the world’s largest computer networking institution serving non–governmental organizations dedicated to human rights, social, economic and environmental justice, and political change during the 1990s.
How to Cite
Murphy, B. (2005). Interdoc: The first international non–governmental computer network. First Monday, 10(5).